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Review: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Blood Oath Blood Oath by Christo­pher Farnsworth

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
Blood Oath is an inter­est­ing and fair­ly refresh­ing vari­a­tion on the vam­pire riff. Most of the cur­rent tales give us a suave, sexy preda­tor who mes­mer­izes his or her prey, leav­ing humans pin­ing for their pres­ence. They might even fall in love with a human. Nathaniel Cade, how­ev­er, refers to humans as food, say­ing, “Would you have sex with a cow?” That makes much more sense to me. It’s a good thing he isn’t inter­est­ed, either, as the typ­i­cal reac­tion peo­ple have to encoun­ter­ing him is utter pan­ic, often involv­ing the loss of blad­der con­trol.

Cade is def­i­nite­ly a preda­tor, though — an extreme­ly effec­tive one. Farnsworth attempts to explain his abil­i­ties sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, rather than mys­ti­cal­ly (I’d clas­si­fy this book as sci­ence fic­tion if I had to choose a genre, where­as most books fea­tur­ing vam­pires and sim­i­lar crea­tures are fan­ta­sy or hor­ror). The same is true of the ene­nies he faces.

While I’m not gen­er­al­ly inter­est­ed in socio-polit­i­cal thrillers (which is what this book was, oth­er than a sto­ry about a vam­pire who works for the pres­i­dent), I did enjoy the fresh take on an old trope. While I nor­mal­ly groan when I see the first book from a new author billed as the begin­ning of a series (do pub­lish­ers even buy sin­gle books any more?), I’m some­what pleased this time. I do wish they’d been a lit­tle more care­ful with the name of the series (The President’s Vam­pire), as there’s anoth­er book with the same name: The President’s Vam­pire: Strange-but-True Tales of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca by Robert Damon Sch­neck. Then again, if Farnsworth’s book or series takes off, I sup­pose there’s a chance that sales of Schneck’s will as well. I’m sure he wouldn’t com­plain about that at all. I’ve put it on my to-read list, after all.

I hope to talk my part­ner, Sam, into read­ing Blood Oath. If I do, it’ll be fair­ly mirac­u­lous, as I don’t recall him any­thing with drag­ons or were­wolves in it oth­er than (Jim Butch­er’s Dres­den Files) for most of the time that I’ve known him (12 years as of this writ­ing). After his years at White Wolf, I think many books seem more than slight­ly deriv­a­tive. He also did so much research before work­ing on books he wrote for them (like The Book of Nod) that he got a lit­tle burned out on cer­tain sub­jects. Farnsworth’s approach real­ly is dif­fer­ent enough that I think he might give it a chance. Will you?

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